How To Plan Your DREAM Elopement 101

If you are here, that means you probably just got engaged to your dream person and you a) know exactly that you want to elope or b) are curious about eloping but kinda scared and don’t want to make your family/friends unhappy and you just don’t know what to DO. You know for SURE that you want a wedding that showcases who you two are, and really have a day that is all about you and your love. You want that sweet, intimate moment where it’s just the two of you expressing your love for each other, and you want to spend a day just exploring your favorite places– a mountain top, a waterfall, with a stop at your favorite winery– and you want to skip the stiff, calculated, stressful big wedding drama. You want to spend your money on yourselves having FUN, not feeding a million people. You’ve come to the right place my friend– so let’s plan your dream day together.

man and woman facing each other while reading wedding vows. The Blue Ridge mountains are behind them, it is overcast and small low clouds can be seen around the mountain tops. The woman is wearing a wedding dress and the man is wearing a navy suit.

To make one thing clear — there is nothing wrong with big weddings. I’m just here to say that they’re not for everyone, and there’s a lot of pressure to have one that includes every person ever so nobody feels left out. But I’m here to say, do something that makes you absolutely OVERJOYED. And if a big wedding doesn’t evoke that feeling for you, stick around and learn how to plan your dream elopement!!!

Elopement definition — a wedding day where two humans come together to get married, but usually in a beautiful, remote location and with little to no guests.

STEP 1: Think about what your dream day looks like

I recommend hopping on pinterest and looking through different kinds of elopements. There’s so many ways to construct your day! Think about the things that you and your person love to do together, think about what really showcases your personality. You could elope just the two of you on top of a mountain in Switzerland and then go to a beautiful winery, or you could do a ceremony with the two of you and then have family and friends join you later for a dinner at a fancy restaurant, or you could get married at a waterfall and then hop in your swimsuits and jump in and then go back and have a homemade dinner with your friends at a beautiful airbnb– LITERALLY you can do anything. So really think about what you would love to see and do on your day.

STEP 2: Think about who you want/don’t want at your wedding

For your wedding, you do not want to have people there who dont share the most upbeat and positive energy with you. For some people, what makes a wedding day the most “them” is to just have the two of them together in a private ceremony. For some, inviting your closest friends or family members brings the most joy. But the ultimate point of an elopement is to keep it intimate and hold on to the things that truly matter, love, joy and surrounding yourself with people who only ever support you.

STEP 3: Hire a photographer

Here is why hiring a photographer is so high on the list: A photographer can help guide you through how to make your vision come to life, what kind of vendors you should consider for your specific day, and most importantly they will help you create a wedding timeline that makes your day go seamlessly. They will help you decide which spots would work beautifully for an elopement and which spots wouldn’t, and most of all, they will be there for you from the beginning to the end. That’s why you have to make sure you hire a photographer that you absolutely vibe with, because they will be the person/people that are there for you even if its just the two of you having an intimate ceremony. Truly, a photographer on your wedding day is more than just a person snapping away, it’s someone who is so invested in your love and wants to make your dream wedding day come to life.

STEP 4: Buy a dress/suit/outfit and rings (if that’s what you’d like!)

Buying these things in advance is necessary to make sure you have time to make any alterations just in case. Keep in mind that you outfits will probably not be pristine after your elopement (but don’t fret, you can always send it away to get cleaned after!) but that’s honestly part of the fun, so embrace it! If you want to hike somewhere, we always bring a pop up station so that you can change once you get to your spot!

STEP 5: The Legal THINGS

Some things to think about when it comes to legalities: permits when it comes to where you want to elope, marriage license (can you get married at that location legally, or do you need to do the official marriage elsewhere and then do a ceremonial marriage at the desired location), witnesses and officiants. If you book with us, one of the things we offer is help with ALL of these things, so don’t worry you are not going to be left alone trying to figure it all out! πŸ™‚

STEP 6: Pick a place

Step 5 and Step 6 really go hand in hand because based on your location, your legal aspects will vary. But think about your fave destination, maybe it’s in the Alps in Europe, or the beautiful terrain in Iceland, or the city in Prague or Paris. Make sure you have multiple back up ideas for your location, and make sure to think about the privacy aspect and the accessibility aspect. With privacy, you want to think about whether or not your a choosing a popular destination and time of year where there will be a lot of other people there. With accessibility, you want to make sure you are choosing a spot that is accessible to you and/or any guests you might bring with you. We are always down for a little hike, or a spot that’s easy to get to. It’s just what makes you feel the most comfortable πŸ™‚

STEP 7: Think about your vendors

Do you see yourself just you, your wedding attire, on top of a mountain? Or do you see yourself doing that and then later on doing a part of the day with family, friends, flowers, and a nice dinner? Do you want a lot of beautiful details? Knowing how you want your day to look like will help you understand and plan out your budget.

STEP 8: Create a timeline

Absolutely such a crucial step to make sure your day runs smoothly and stress free. Some people go into wedding planning thinking that timelines are not necessary and we should just go with the flow, but I will tell you from our experience that without a timeline things feel hectic and stressful. Personally, we work with you to create a perfect custom timeline based on your wants and needs on your wedding day, and we can give you all the tips to make the very most of your day.


Pretty self explanatory. Let’s have so much fun, let’s explore somewhere new, and have one of the best days ever.

A couple kissing on Max Patch mountain in North Carolina. One can see a large portion of the mountain, a fence in the background, and sweeping views of other mountains. She wears a long wedding dress, he a beige suit and pants.
  1. Myles says:

    Great post! Lots of great info here, and even more beautiful images!

  2. Jen Peters says:

    Your use of light is so amazing!! Love love all the light rays and shadows. So much great info for couples who’ve decided to elope!

  3. Leo says:

    love how simple you’ve kept planning your elopement. Some amazing photos in this awesome resource too, thanks for sharing!

  4. Loving how simple you broke down planning an elopement!

  5. Jessica A says:

    Goodness the image you showcase are absolutely gorgeous and SUCH great info about how to get started on planning. If I were on the fence about eloping this would def help convince me that this is the right option.

  6. Sierra says:

    Great guide on how to plan a dream elopement! I love how elopements can be as simple or elaborate as you want!

  7. Lauren says:

    This is spectacular and super informative! Thanks so much for putting together such a great resource for couples looking to elope!

  8. Kat says:

    Really great suggestions since planning such an event can be so overwhelming. What’s important to each couple can be so different

  9. My fiance and I decided we don’t want a big traditional wedding, so we’re looking for fun ideas for us and our small party. It’s great that you explained the importance of how the place we choose should be accessible for our guests, so we’ll definitely keep this in mind. We appreciate your insight on planning an elopement wedding and how it’d be a private and elegant event if that’s what we want.

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